Just days after the thrilling finale to the VELUX EHF Champions League season and as celebrations continue in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, home of the new champions, HC Vardar, EHF Marketing GmbH has hailed the success of the eighth VELUX EHF FINAL4 event in Cologne (3/4 June)
A capacity crowd of 19,750 spectators in Cologne’s LANXESS arena witnessed some of the most dramatic matches of the season as HC Vardar took the title for the first time in the club’s history with two last-second victories over the biggest names in the game: FC Barcelona Lassa and Paris Saint-Germain Handball.
The whole of FYR Macedonia was gripped by handball fever over the weekend as the nation followed the fate of their top club team. The event’s TV partner in FYR Macedonia, MRTV, reported a maximum market share of more than 80% for the final and a TV audience of 1 million people. An estimated crowd of some 150,000 also took to the streets to greet the team on their arrival back in Skopje on Tuesday to celebrate what is the country’s greatest sporting achievement.
Millions reached worldwide
A total of 40 broadcasters beamed the event into the homes of handball fans in more than 80 territories. The EHF’s own OTT platform, ehfTV.com, also provided worldwide access to the event. Broadcasters in key markets including beIN Sports (France), SportTV (Hungary) and DR (Denmark) all reported exceptional viewing figures.
28 cameras were in operation in one of the most extensive productions yet at a major handball event. These included special cameras in referee shirts and the first use of cameras on the officials’ table, providing viewers with pictures from a unique perspective.
Coverage on television and radio was complemented by extensive behind-the-scenes content provided by the EHF/EHF Marketing media team, generating a total of 26 million impressions across all channels, 7.3 million users reached on the competition’s Facebook channel alone.
Commenting on the impact of the event, the EHF President, Michael Wiederer, said: "Everybody can see the tremendous development over eight years and it is a credit to the work of EHF Marketing, the EHF and many suppliers, partners & sponsors that it is possible for the event to get better year on year”, he said, describing the VELUX EHF FINAL4 as the “best indoor tournament in European sport”.
Marketing rights sold-out
This year’s VELUX EHF FINAL4 also confirmed its status as a highly attractive platform for international brands, partners and sponsors. EHF Marketing GmbH announced the sale of all marketing packages ahead of the event, including the acquisition of six new sponsors: Gorenje, Cashback World – operated by Lyoness, Admiral, Husqvarna, SAP and Engelbert Strauss, joining the competition’s existing line-up of sponsors and partners: the VELUX Group, UNIQA, Salming, SELECT and Gerflor.
The event also signalled the beginning of two significant sponsorship deals. Sportradar confirmed a long-term agreement, which will see the global leader in data and digital content provide a range of data, streaming, marketing and digital services for the federation’s European Cup competitions.
Gorenje, the leading European home appliance manufacturer and one of Slovenia’s largest and most successful companies, was also unveiled as an ‘official regional premium sponsor’ of the VELUX EHF Champions League from the start of the new season, through until the end of 2019/20.
David Szlezak, Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH, commented: “As the highpoint of the season, the VELUX EHF FINAL4 is an attractive proposition to sponsors and partners looking to reach out to handball fans. At the same time, our focus is very much on the future, and we are delighted to have signed two new partnerships with Gorenje and Sportradar, both exciting deals, which will allow us to push forward with our plans for the further development of the VELUX EHF Champions League from the start of next season.”
Entertainment with a touch of spice
With a focus on providing fans and guests with the best possible event experience in international handball, the VELUX EHF FINAL4 once again delivered a spectacular show and entertainment programme.
The highlight of this year’s event was the English pop star and former Spice Girl, Melanie C, who performed three times on the final day, including a special performance of ‘We Are The Champions’ as HC Vardar lifted the VELUX EHF Champions League trophy.
Tickets for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018 have already gone on sale both at the event and also online via the ticket shop at ehfFINAL4.com with the first allocation of more than 8,500 tickets already sold.
For a look back at the event, including all four matches available to watch on-demand, take a look at the VELUX EHF Champions League official digital channels: ehfFINAL4.com and ehfTV.com as well as social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
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